An assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the Hollywood actor fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to court records released late on Friday.
A search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court revealed Baldwin was informed by the assistant that he was holding a "cold gun" on the set of the film "Rust."
However, the gun was actually loaded with live rounds, and when Baldwin pulled the trigger on the set of his latest movie, he killed Hutchins.
No immediate charges were filed, and Baldwin has been allowed to travel.
Baldwin, who is the star and co-producer of "Rust," said he was in shock after the events. Questions have been raised about the safety conditions on the sets of the film, with reports of some of the crew members walking out.
The warrant was obtained so that investigators could document the scene at the ranch where the shooting took place.
Baldwin's blood-stained costume for the movie was taken as evidence, as was the weapon that was fired, according to the documentation.
"As the assistant director handed the gun to the actor Alec Baldwin, (he) yelled 'cold gun', indicating the prop gun did not have any live rounds," clarified the affidavit.
Investigators also seized other props, such as guns and ammunition that were being used.
Sometimes real guns are used for shooting movies in the US, which could potentially fire real bullets or blanks.
Injured director released from hospital
Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded in the incident, the records said.
Souza has since been released from hospital.
Hutchins, originally hailing from Ukraine, was named one of American Cinematographer's Rising Stars of 2019. "We hope this tragedy will reveal new lessons for how to better ensure safety for every crew member on set," her representative said.
Condolences for Hutchins came in from several members of the film industry. Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, who worked with her on "Archenemy" expressed his sadness on Twitter.
A blank shot at a close range had caused the death of an actor in 1984. Another on-set incident in 1993 resulted in the death of Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee's son, after a bullet was left in the prop gun.